At least two members of the Bush Commission on Opportunity in Athletics reviewing Title IX plan to submit a minority report, charging that the Commission’s recommendations to the Department of Education could negatively impact millions of women and girls. The minority report will be submitted by commissioners Julie Foudy, captain of the US National Women’s Soccer Team, and Donna de Varona, an Olympic gold medallist in swimming, though other commissioners may join them, according to the Associated Press. Foudy especially criticized the recommendation to use interest surveys to determine the levels of opportunity on a given college for men and women, saying that these surveys would effectively “freeze discrimination in place” and reduce access to athletic opportunities for women, the AP reports. Judith Sweet, a National Collegiate Athletic Association vice president, told the Times that “some of the recommendations on the table have the potential of institutionalizing discrimination against women. I think it’s very unclear to all of us what’s going to happen with the report, and how it is going to be used.”
A draft of the Commission’s report on Title IX, published in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, ignores the continuing lack of participation opportunities and funding that women's and girls' athletics face in favor of recommendations that will increase males' participation in athletics. Title IX is the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education, including athletic programs. The Commission suggested several sweeping changes to Title IX enforcement that could effectively eviscerate the gains women and girls have made in athletics.
The Commission will present its final report to the Department of Education tomorrow. The report submitted by Foudy and de Varona will not be part of the group’s official report in the public record, Education Secretary Rod Paige told the New York Times.
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .